As TFTP previously reported, currently, the nation is gripped with a historical unemployment problem, the feds are waging a new cold war with Russia, the country is on the brink of civil war, hundreds of thousands of people are still locked up for victimless crimes, the dollar is on the verge of collapse, we are nearly 30 trillion dollars in debt, and the Biden administration has set its crosshairs on outlawing menthol cigarettes.
The asinine decision to ban yet another product couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time given the current state of policing in the land of the free. This will only lead to more suffering, more senseless police interactions, and more persecution of black people. There are undoubtedly swarms of cops right now chomping at the bit to enforce a ban on menthol and flavored cigarettes — ready to “crack some skulls.”
The move is so poorly thought out that even the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union warns that it could have grave consequences, especially for people of color.
If you don’t think the state will kidnap, cage, or even kill people over cigarette laws, you likely haven’t read many articles on the Free Thought Project.
On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, father of six, had just broken up a fight outside of his shop when he was targeted by NYPD cops for harassment and extortion for selling loose cigarettes. Because the state will go to grave and violent lengths to enforce even the most arbitrary of laws, Garner was subsequently assaulted and killed by “compression of neck, chest and positioning during restraint by police” — over cigarettes.
Eric Garner sold “loosie” cigarettes. The state didn’t get their cut. So they killed him.
No one has been held responsible for Garner’s death as the state seemingly considers the violation of cigarette laws, an offense punishable by death.
Nearly 7 years have elapsed since New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo choked Eric Garner to death for the apparently egregious crime of selling loose cigarettes — but the only one related to the case who faced any punishment so far for what many believe to be a cold-blooded murder is the man who filmed it.
In October of 2016, Ramsey Orta — the man who filmed Pantaleo choke the life from Garner — was sentenced to four years in prison for drugs and gun charges that were conveniently brought against him after he became famous for taking the video that fateful day.
While Orta rots in prison, the officers responsible for the death of Garner remain free.
Michael Brown’s death was also triggered by a police response to cigarettes. Moments before the unarmed teen was gunned down by officer Darren Wilson he was accused of stealing a bag of cigarillos. Surveillance footage would eventually show he never left the store with the cigarettes, yet he was still killed over the suspicion of a misdemeanor crime.
The entire flavored cigarette ban is being pushed by health experts and government officials alike who remain completely oblivious to the fact that the state’s only tool is force. To “protect” people from themselves, the state will enforce this ban through the barrel of a gun and anyone who circumvents the ban is subject to that gun.
As the ACLU and other organizations pointed out in a Letter of Concern to Congress last month, policies that amount to prohibition for adults will have serious racial justice implications. Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction. A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.
The solution to health problems is information — not prohibition. Prohibition has given the United States the largest prison population in the world. It has created a thriving market for deadly drugs and given way to rampant criminal activity as cartels fight to maintain their control over the illegal drug trade.
Just like the war on drugs failed to prevent the largest overdose death rate in American history, the war on menthol cigarettes will do nothing to foster better health and only lead to the persecution of millions of people over “crimes” which have no victims.
The fact that this is even being considered by those who call themselves “experts” and “professionals” shows exactly how far the human race has to go before we achieve true freedom. Disappointing indeed.